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Ireland: Female employees are entitled to a paid maternity leave of 26 consecutive weeks plus 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave after confinement. Maternity leave may in general commence or end on any day selected by the female employee but two weeks before and four weeks after the end of the expected week of confinement is compulsory. The maximum pre-natal leave is 16 weeks. If the child is born later than expected, postnatal leave may be extended by the necessary number of consecutive weeks, up to a maximum of four weeks. To avail the maternity leave, the worker has to inform the employer in writing of her intention to take leave, and produce a medical certificate or "other appropriate certificate" confirming the pregnancy and indicating the expected week of confinement. If a worker has stillbirth or miscarriage any time after the 24th week of pregnancy, she is entitled to full maternity leave (paid 26 weeks + unpaid 16 weeks). (Maternity Protection Act 1994, amended in 2004 §8 - 16)
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